Anna is furious with her dad after he sends her to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. She’s torn away from everything she cares about—her family, her best friend, her almost-boyfriend—and everything familiar about life in America. However, she quickly discovers that the School of America in Paris (SOAP) is better than she expected when she meets Etienne St. Clair, a beautiful British boy… with a girlfriend. As Anna becomes acquainted with boarding school life, she finds herself falling hard for the unavailable boy. Drama stirs up in her school, at home, and with friends in this contemporary romance book.
To preface this review, I want to say that I hold the firm belief that one should read reviews before reading a book, or watching a movie, or eating at a restaurant. I am rarely a spontaneous person. I don’t like experiencing mediocre or bad things.
That’s why I originally didn’t want to read Anna and the French Kiss. Goodreads had some scathing reviews on it and the book just didn’t seem like it would be my cup of tea.
(past me was right)
But then I watched some booktubers rave about the book and after hearing all the good things, I thought to myself: It can’t hurt to give it a try.
(past me was not right)
I didn’t hate this book with a passion like some reviewers on Goodreads did but I certainly didn’t enjoy it.
My first impression of Anna is that she is dumb, whiny, and can’t think outside of stereotypical boxes. The first part of the book had me so frustrated with her because she is literally the dumb American stereotype.
Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amélie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either actually is. Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, and a lot of kings named Louis. I’m not sure what they did either, but I think it has something to do with the French Revolution, which has something to do with Bastille Day. The art museum is called the Louvre and it’s shaped like a pyramid and the Mona Lisa lives there along with that statue of the woman missing her arms. And there are cafés and bistros or whatever they call them on every street corner. And mimes. The food is supposed to be food, and the people drink a lot of wine and smoke a lot of cigarettes. I’ve heard they don’t like Americans, and they don’t like white sneakers.
Clearly not the brightest tool in the toolbox. She actually has no idea what the Eiffle Tower does??? Um, maybe it’s a historical and architectural landmark??? The latter half of the “things she knows about France” are all just stereotypes… how does she even think they don’t like white sneakers!?
I mean I totally understand that a lot of times, we can only recall stereotypical elements of a foreign place but come on! France shouldn’t be that foreign to Americans, should it? It’s a lot more similar than a country in Asia or South America. How is she so ignorant of the world around her?
She also states that she loves film and she wants to be the world’s most famous female film critic yet she doesn’t know that France is famous for its cinema.
I CANNOT EVEN WITH THIS GIRL. NO WONDER SHE’S AT A SCHOOL WHOSE ACRONYM IS SOAP.
Where has she been studying film???
St. Clair gestures around in an exaggerated circle, clearly loving this. “Paris…is the film appreciation…capital…of the world.”
I stop dead. “You’re kidding.”
Jesus Christ, just please take me to the romance, I can’t stand her stupid thoughts anymore.
She does get better later on in the book and doesn’t make so many assumptions about Paris or France, although sadly, she doesn’t stop making assumptions altogether.
A collection of some of Anna’s ‘profound’ moments:
- She doesn’t order food for an entire week at her school because she doesn’t know how to speak French (the staff can speak English, Anna. You’re not living on Mars. Plus your school is called the School of America in Paris.)
- “attending boarding school is like living inside a high school.” Um NO SHIT. You are literally living inside your high school. I don’t know how you didn’t catch that aspect from the glossy brochures. You are literally living at school.
- “It’s weird to think he knows more American history than I do.” Him being Etienne. Well, first-off, Etienne has spent time living in America. Plus, maybe not everyone is so ignorant of the world like you are, Anna. Have you ever thought about that?
- She complains about not being able to understand French yet during French class, she always tries to get out of speaking French. ANNA. YOU WON’T LEARN IF YOU DON’T PRACTICE. You understand that, don’t you? I mean you say you write movie reviews to practice and get better. The same concept applies to other things like learning a language.
Ugh. I didn’t really like her throughout the book. She was just too dumb for me.
So I was kind of looking forward to the romance because it’s a love story after all but I just found it so unrealistic. I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole “cheating” aspect and I felt a lot of the “drama” could’ve been avoided if the characters had communicated like normal human beings.
I wasn’t particularly mad about the “cheating” but I thought it was kind of stupid. If Etienne liked her and she liked him and he was having problems with his girlfriend, why didn’t he just break up with her? They gave some (bullshit) reasons but that just didn’t make sense to me.
Literally the entire story is about Anna and Etienne. When Etienne is not in the scene, it’s usually Anna musing about him or talking about him with a friend. There is no plot to this story except girl meets boy. Girl and boy have a complicated relationship until the end when girl and boy get together. The end. Happily ever after.
It was just such a meh book. Nothing happened except relationship “drama” that likely could’ve been avoided!
Anna also stirs up drama with her best friend back at home when her friend starts dating the almost-boyfriend that Anna left. I literally did not get Anna’s anger at all. I mean yes, she should be upset that her best friend didn’t tell her but she was more upset that her best friend was dating her almost-boyfriend. Anna has been gone for months already, she doesn’t really talk to said almost-boyfriend, AND she’s already crushing hard on some other dude. WHAT IS HER PROBLEM. WHY DOES SHE GIVE TWO CRAPS ABOUT THE ALMOST-BOYFRIEND SHE LEFT. SHE’S ALREADY HOPELESSLY IN LOVE WITH ETIENNE. WHY DOES SHE INSIST ON CREATING MORE DRAMA.
(Reminds me of a nasty girl I knew in high school who found drama with every single guy she ever talked to, including those she “had a thing with” in middle school. Anna is like that.)
When I wasn’t being annoyed/frustrated/angry/so done with the characters or plot of this book, I was just kind of reading along with little emotional reaction. There was just nothing I found sweet or endearing or heart wrenching at all. Everything just fell flat for me (except for the parts that fell into hell for me).
I’m a huge sucker for romance but I just couldn’t get into this book. Nothing seemed natural and it was hard getting into the story. I’m sorry but I wouldn’t recommend this book. I’m sure there are many much better contemporary books and romance books out there.